Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Children of Barren Wasteland 7"

Anyone who has explored this blog far enough knows of my absolute infatuation with the bay area's Zero Hour. This band's discography was the infallible scripture of what came to be labeled "neo-crust." Enough about them... I've already gushed sufficiently in a previous post (the mp3s for which have been re-ripped with slightly cleaner sound quality). The point is that Zero Hour's wraith-like force of a vocalist, Whisper, briefly screamed for Children of Barren Wasteland (COBW), who released only this self-titled 7" (Profane Existence/Skuld Records, 1996). COBW's approach was much more "straight forward," both in the songwriting, and in the vocals which completely avoid the anguished howling and wailing I expected to hear proceed from Whisper's scarified pipes. The songs are catchy and energetic hardcore punk tunes (with a thin layer of crust), and approach nowhere near the abysmal, despair-trolling depths of Zero Hour's inward exploration of the personal hell of human existence (albeit, an exploration with a view toward empowerment). Whisper penned the lyrics as well, which are rambly, but deal thoughtfully with gender roles, the paradox of living as an outsider in a culture of conformity, and the detriment of personal stagnation via fear and complacency. Comparisons aside, this is a solid record that is marred only by the saturation of treble in the recording (you get used to it after the first song).


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Damad EPs

Damad was a band whose appeal, for me at least, took some time to sink in. Their early releases showed intriguing promise, but did not leave a memorable impact (once again, just my opinion). The zine world made a big to-do over "Rise and Fall," but I think I've only listened to that record two or three times. Then, seemingly over night, the band hit their stride and produced some outstanding work, including the "Burning Cold" Lp, the split 10" with Meatjack, and the "Centric" 7". The two eps that comprise today's post are representative of Damad's burgeoning maturity during the late nineties. The "Rewind" ep (Bacteria Sour Records, 1996) consists of two tracks that show the band in full control, but once again I feel the songwriting is lacking the power they would later discover. "Centric," (Clean Plate Records, 1997) however, was the record that convinced me that I needed to follow this band's quest to the next phase. Below the surface of these twisted and dreary dirges, is a punk energy that I didn't feel on their earlier work. The band would keep this torch ablaze until about 2000, when members splintered into Karst and Kylesa. Most of the band's later work is available through Prank Records and At A Loss Recordings.

The eps

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cruevo/Brainoil Split CD

Having been released jointly by four labels (see pic above), you'd assume this disc would be more widely available! Unfortunately for the masses, the Cruevo/Brainoil split CD was only released in a single run of a thousand (in 2001?). That's a real shame, and although other blogs have probably covered this one, I am excited to do my part in spreading the rock! Brainoil was the motivating factor for seeking out this disc, but as you can tell from my enthusiasm, Cruevo (ex-Kalas, High Tone Son of a Bitch, Medication Time...) tears shit up as well. This Oakland five piece plod through three pulsating, sixties/seventies rock influenced sludge ditties (I'm trying to avoid the term stoner-rock... oops), fortified with a thick guitar sound and polished off with some painful, screamed vocals. Tone-wise, the band stays out of the deep canyons of doom that slower bands these days seem to love sinking into, and remain on the "high" ground of good ol' rock'n roll (but heavy!). Other than these three tracks, you may have a hard time finding any sign of life from these rockers in recorded form. Now, on to Brainoil... Anyone who has drunk from the Brainoil chalice (their 12" ep) knows these bottom dwellers must have made a pact with some unsavory and otherworldly entity to have conjured riffs like these! This time around, the production appropriately favors the lower end, loosening and revealing the dirty, diabolical sludginess of the band's true master plan. A couple of the tracks are rough versions of ones you may recognize, but the others are exclusives, comprised of a main-line of intricate Sabbath wizardry, chased with a bit of the blues. When sludge rock is done right, there is reason to rejoice... and rejoice you will! Brainoil members have done time in Grimple, Destroy!, Ojo Rojo, Lana Dagales, and many more, so you know these guys are the hardened real deal!

I had it mind that I would rip this thing at a super huge bit rate, but the tracks kept coming out with hissing and crackling (still not sure why). A couple of years ago I found some good MP3s on Soulseek that are cleaner sounding (but low bit rate), so I'm using those instead...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Crime Against Humanity

The download "revolution" may be exciting, but it always sucks to see good people become casualties. For the last few years, Crimes Against Humanity Records has been helping me fill my record bins with their amazing service, record selection, and prices. I know, I sound like a fucking commercial, but it's true-- Nick and company have put out great records and have provided an outstanding distro service. Sadly, he is considering closing up shop due to lack of support. He's having a sale to save the label, so if you have any extra scratch, check out the CAH distro and send some of it his way (you're bound to find something you like). The label also just released the new End of All (ex- Wolfpack) CD, which should kick serious ass, and were responsible for putting out Remains of the Day and To What End's CDs among many others. I know this isn't a noble save-the-whales or end genocide campaign, but it's something tangible that we can do to strengthen the tenuous framework of our little music community. Support 'em if you can!

Here's a 34 track sampler CD Crimes Against Humanity Records was sending out free with orders not too long ago featuring Uncurbed, Nashgul, Desolate Void, Illdad, Cripple Bastards, Skrupel, Massmörd, Hellshock, Diskonto, Wartorn, To What End?, Beyond Description, Remains of the Day, Wolfpack, Extinction of Mankind, Misery...


Monday, April 21, 2008

Fugitive Equilibrium Mixtape #1- Cover Songs

While listening to the new Leatherface Tribute 2xCD comp., I couldn't help but recall all the great cover songs Leatherface and many other favorite bands have produced over the years. I figured, why not do a mixtape with a few of these? Finding no reason not to, I went to work for the past week ripping some of my favorite cover songs from new and old CDs and records (a couple were downloaded). The end-product is the 21 track monster you will hopefully be downloading shortly. Considering the different sources, you can imagine the variation in sound quality. But the quality of the music is undeniable! Many of the tracks are favorite bands covering other favorite bands, but several are songs I only like as they appear here in their more punk interpretations. I can almost guarantee this will make for a most entertaining ride to work tomorrow, or an enlivening soundtrack to your spring-cleaning adventures. I hope you enjoy listening to this half as much as I enjoyed assembling it!
1. "Raise the Curtain" (Jerry's Kids) by His Hero Is Gone from the "Fool's Gold" 7"
2. "Search and Destroy" (The Stooges) by Cursed from the "Hell Comes Home" 7"
3. "Largactyl" (Amebix) by Depressor from the self-titled 7"
4. "No Sanctuary" (Amebix) by Crow from the Prank 7"
5. "My War" (Black Flag) by Rorschach from the split 7" w/ 1.6 Band
6. "Purple Haze" (Jimi Hendrix) by Antischism from the "All Their Money Stinks of Death" 7"
7. "Greedy Bastards" (Antischism) by Capitalist Casualties from the "Pigs Suck" Comp.
8. "Candle in the Wind" (Elton John) by Leatherface from the "Fill Your Boots" Lp
9. "Razor Blades and Aspirin" (Leatherface) by Drunk from the Leatherface Tribute Comp.
10. "The Usurper" (Celtic Frost) by High On Fire from the "Art of Self-Defense" Lp
11. "Clutches" (Nausea) by Kylesa from the "Delusion of Fire" 7"
12. "Time After Time" (Cyndi Lauper) by Action Patrol from "The Weak Force" Lp
13. "Stigmata Martyr" (Bauhaus) by Angel Hair from the Gravity Recs. 12"
14. "Pressure" (Negative Approach) by Union of Uranus from the "Reproach" Comp.
15. "Chory" (Post Regiment) by Ballast from the "Fuse" Lp
16. "Memories of Tomorrow" (Suicidal Tendencies) by Despise You from the "Reality #2" Comp.
17. "Right Brigade" (Bad Brains) by Shank from the split Lp w/ Iron Lung
18. "It's Time" (The Faith) by Under Pressure from the "Still No Future" 12"
19. "Who Are You?" (Void) by Under Pressure from the "Still No Future" 12"
20. "My Rules" (Void) by MK-Ultra from the "Melt" 7"
21. "Movin' On Up" (The Jeffersons TV show theme) by Born Against from "The Rebel Sound of Shit and Failure" collection Lp

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Short Hate Temper/Harsh/Quill Split 10"

Three pissed-off bands from three continents... global harmony through ultra-violent music! This 3-way (he he) split (TVG Records, 2000?) is a real gem as each band plays its own brand of powerviolence expertly! Short Hate Temper start the show off with their amazingly catchy fastcore- first with a long track (two and half minutes), followed by seven short ragers. Great stuff that rivals their material on the Slight Slappers split. Following SHT, we have a recent Fugitive E. favorite, Harsh. These Finns win me over again, this time with eight bass-obsessed originals and a Nihilistics cover. The recording's a little muffled, but these are the best Harsh tracks posted here yet! The entire second side of this 10" is dedicated to the controlled madness of Japan's Quill. These punks opt for a less dark sound, and crank the punk-rock knob to eleven. On the average, each track is a mere 30 seconds of spazzed-out power chords- 14 originals, 2 audience sound samples (from a kick boxing match?) and an Infest cover. Although I'm pretty sure this record is out of print (the label says it has 10 left, but I think it has been saying that for a while), you can still find it around in various places (these bands are great, but let's face it, they aren't in demand). 1800 copies were pressed on pink wax...


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Harsh/Control Mechanism Split 7"

A little while back, commenter, Matt, brought the Harsh/Control Mechanism split 7" (Phobia Records/Impregnate Noise Laboratories, 2002?) to my attention. Shortly afterward, I found it in a distro for 2 (US) dollars (a great deal considering the state of the economy right now!). Since Finland's Harsh rules, I figured I should pick it up... and it's a good thing I did! Both bands call it a draw as they battle to formulate the essence of pure spite, seldom neglecting the power of speed, and drawing influences from all the great names in powerviolence and grindcore. It's tough not to pull out the Man is the Bastard card to describe Harsh on this incarnation, as the band appears here as a two piece (bass/drums) and throws together almost equal parts sludgy despair and lunatic blast-beat fury. Some of the bass grooves are pretty damned catchy and crushing, making Harsh's eight tracks quite the revelation! The void of guitarlessness left by Harsh is filled on side b courtesy of another Finnish band, Control Mechanism. This is the only exposure I've had to this band, and I must say they stand out fairly noticeably from the multitudes of grind/mince acts out there. The eight tracks engraved on their side bring to mind the viciousness of Despise You, with the whacked-out mayhem of Sick Terror and Anal Cunt. There's some sense of variation from track to track due to the very disparate vocal styles of the two singer, and because the songs were gleaned from three different recording sessions. All in all, this a satisfying little rager of an ep! (Note: there's some crackley tape hiss at different points, but I'm fairly sure it's from the recording, not the ripping...)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Def. Master "The Fear of God" 7"

A qualifying statement may be in order here: I'm not usually into this sort of music, but... the title track of Def. Master's "The Fear of God" 7" (H:G Fact Records, 1993) is just so damned powerful. Said track is a hyper-paranoid mindfuck of stimulus-overloaded, industrial cyber-metal. Unlike some other Def. Master tracks, the various vocal samples and electronic noises are used as mere embellishments to the metal guitar's dominant position, all of which are goaded along by the manic pace of the drum track. Dizzying, and fucking intense! The b-side, "Beset," marches at a more moderate, lulling pace, and almost eliminates the role of the guitar completely. Perhaps it's needless to say, but this track falls short of the mark, although fans of Godflesh might find themselves bobbing their heads a bit. In addition to this ep, Def. Master released split eps with Discordance Axis and Spine Wrench.

Take a listen

Sunday, April 13, 2008

More 7" Comps That Don't Suck Vol.8: "Shadows of a Decaying Future"

As foretold, this is a compilation with some more Fallout tracks. I'm not sure when exactly the "Shadows of a Decaying Future" (Dry Retch Records) EP was released, but all the tracks were recorded around 1999. Only 1000 hand-numbered copies were pressed, but you may be able to get one still from the label or the always incredible Hardcore Holocaust. Although I got this one because of Fallout, the other bands won me over too. Nihilist are also from Australia, and drop three simple smoked-out crust/grind tracks that nod to Disrupt, but have their own fun and "nihilistic" flavor. Invazija are like the Lithuanian Sin Dios, (the Lithuanian language seems perfect for this, somehow) and issue four tracks of anthemic and catchy political punk/hardcore. Finally, Finland's Irritate baffle listeners with their mincecore cum stoner/psyche track that unfortunately ends just when you're starting to feel it. In the end, this is a good comp, and most will find something they like on it. Buy it if you can, or listen below...


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fallout/Last Warning Split 7"

When I posted the Acursed/Fallout split LP a while back, I was mainly jazzed about Acursed's tracks, as well as their recent LP. In revisiting that piece, I realized that Australia's Fallout is NOT a force to be ignored either! On their split with Last Warning (Putrid Filth Conspiracy, 2000?), Fallout hammer us with five more blows of Dystopia-infused California-style violence. The tracks delivered here are every bit as menacing as those on the other split, and are forged extra solid by some excellent, heavy-handed drumming. The next post may very well be a seven inch comp. with more noise from these guys, so stay tuned! Sweden's Last Warning may not be able to match their split-mates in power and songwriting, but they definitely hold their own, spewing a catchy barrage of grindcore/powerviolence with precision enough to keep the listener following along and grunting for more! Two great bands, one great label, 13 sonic offenses...


Sunday, April 6, 2008

More 7" Comps That Don't Suck Vol.7: "Books to Prisoners"

To continue on the 7" compilations with honorable intentions current, I present the "Books to Prisoners" comp (Young Heirs Project, 1996?). Proceeds from this release were donated to, well, the Books to Prisoners organization, whose purpose probably doesn't need to be spelled out any further. They've been around for over 30 years and deserve our support! Now for the music... This disc pre-dates the release of any discography CDs of its featured bands, so at the time of release this was a very exciting platter. Herein, we're treated to the under appreciated yet powerful modern hardcore stylings of Devoid of Faith and Drift, as well as the dark and dirty sludge riffing of Seized and the old school punch 'n kick of the almighty Los Crudos. Listen to this, read a book, donate, organize a prison break...


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Senseless Apocalypse/Harsh Split 7"

Seeing Japan's Senseless Apocalypse live afforded me the first experience where I thought my head would cave in from sheer volume overload. Luckily, the dizziness did wear off so I could enjoy the rest of their insane set. Even the sound guy (who seemed more like an indie rock dude) was so impressed that he recorded them and played pieces back during the set change (as Capitalist Casualties were preparing to take over!). SA have that effect- they are over the top, but somehow infectious and endearing. Several of the 17 untitled tracks on their split ep with Harsh (Mink Records, 1999), use the bait'n switch technique, luring the listener with rockin' punk rock and metal grooves, but then abruptly opening up a can of Fear of God-style blast-beat ass-whoopin'. This is some entertaining noise, but not as good as their two tracks on the CD posted below. If you still crave more, you can visit Cathedral of Erotic Misery and download their 5" ep or go to SA's myspace to hear tracks from the "Japanese Assault" comp (a more "mature" sound). Or.... if you want punishment of a different sort, Finland's Harsh grace the flip side with their own bass-heavy brand of California-style fastcore. Their admiration for Infest and potential influence from Spazz and Lack of Interest is worn sleeve-side, so if you like that sort of rock, you're in for it! Six tracks that take on dogmatic vegans, MTV "punk", the class gap, and our ever-present need to escape reality.